LARAMIE, Wyo. — Austin Mueller’s long wait is almost over.
Mueller originally committed to Wyoming in 2015, back when Larry Shyatt was coaching the Cowboys. He came in and, as Wyoming’s only true freshman, redshirted under first-year head coach Allen Edwards last season as the Cowboys made a change in playing styles.
Friday night, he’ll finally be available to play in a real game for Wyoming. The Cowboys open their regular season at home against Chattanooga.
“It was a good year,” Mueller said of his redshirt season, “but at the same time, it was long, and it’ll be nice to play against some other guys this year.”
At 6-foot-6, Mueller is listed as a forward, but he could play some guard as well for the Cowboys.
“He is a tweener, but I think he’s a tough kid, physical and actually a pretty good athlete,” Edwards said. “Probably more of one of the guys that you would say does the things that probably wouldn’t show up on the stat sheet. But he has his work cut out for him, when you think about the potential and the talent in the program and whether to play on the perimeter or go small and play him at the four.”
Said Mueller: “His comment was pretty accurate. It’s been quite a bit of both. Probably a little bit more on the guard side, but doing quite a bit of both. It’s been good, but tough at times, but it’s probably a good fit.”
Mueller said he was able to adjust to Edwards’ up-tempo style of play, a stark contrast to Shyatt’s ball-control offenses.
“It wasn’t what I had in mind coming in, but it worked out for the better, I think,” Mueller told the Casper Star-Tribune . “I really like the higher tempo. I think it fits my play better, so I think it’s good.”
The Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native also had to adjust to college basketball in general last season.
“I think basketball IQ was big and adjusting to the level of college play versus high school,” Mueller said. “Just growing as a player a lot, defensively and offensively as well.”
Though he was Wyoming’s only freshman last year, he wasn’t the only player sitting out. Transfers Nyaires Redding and Buddha Jones also redshirted to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
“It was kind of helpful, just not being the only one that wasn’t playing,” Mueller said. “And then they were on scout team with me, and I grew closer to them and stuff. Ny’s been a great leader to me and helped me out a lot.
“… You kind of get to be a little more aggressive in terms of shot selection (on scout team). You can kind of work on your game offensively more, because you’re usually running the other team’s offense quite a bit, and so just kind of working on your offensive game a little bit more, and overall basketball IQ, just what other teams are running and how we’re guarding it. Stuff like that.”
Mueller lacks the length of stretch forwards like Alan Herndon and Hayden Dalton, but he’s comfortable with his 3-point shooting, which is an ability Edwards likes his forwards to have.
“I mean, I guess I’d be considered a little undersized,” Mueller said. “I’m not quite Al and H.D. length, but I still think I’m quick enough and strong enough to hold my own against those guys defensively and be able to spread them out offensively as well.”
Only now, it won’t be on the scout team.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com